There is an impasse between the administration of Ka-Mkhweli Primary at Siphofaneni and vendors selling food to pupils as the principal Zanele Dlamini does not want children to eat what the vendors sell. So serious is the matter that the principal has on several occasions been reported to the local umphakatsi (chiefdom) and the Member of Parliament Gundwane Gamedze was recently asked to intervene. Police from the Siphofaneni police station were also requested to be on alert at some stage as vendors’ tempers threatened to boil over.the vendors claim to have been thrown out of the school premises by an uncompromising Dlamini who warned them against setting foot inside the school to sell food.Teachers, pupils and vendors all informed this newspaper during a visit to the school that the principal is too strict on the pupil’s diet and easily reacts nastily to children caught eating food sold by vendors. there is an instance last week where a group of children sneaked during their break time to buy ice blocks to cool themselves as the heat wave swept throughout the country. But unfortunately the pupils were red handedly caught licking their ice blocks by the principal herself. “Her reaction caught us off guard. She simply confistcated the ice blocks from the pupils, threw it on the ground and stepped on it. the children were horrified,” teachers said.it has been established that after destroying their ice blocks, the principal also saw to it that the implicated children were seriously beaten to set an example to others who would fall into temptation of spending their pocket money with vendors.Vendors found outside the school premises believe the principal has something personal against them. They believe she wants pupils to buy from a school tuck shop which was closed down last year. the tuckshop was owned by a children’s club known as bantwana bantwana.“the reason she does not want anything to do with vendors is that she wants pupils to exclusively buy from the tuck shop. She once told us in the face that the profit made by us could have easily been made by the tuck shop if we did not put it in competition,” vendors said.Pupils are only able to buy from the vendors after school and they are not allowed to step outside the school gate during break time.
Principal claims vendors sell unhealthy food
The principal of Kamkhweli Primary School Zanele Dlamini claims vendors sell unhealthy food. In an interview, she vowed that she would never allow them inside the school premises. She said allowing them inside would mean she is also promoting an unhealthy diet for the children. She said health inspectors from the Ministry of Health had paid a visit to the school last year, where they advised vendors against selling unhealthy food. Vendors found outside the school gate were selling snacks, biscuits, sweets, ice blocks and other items.“the school is merely implementing a recommendation made by the Ministry of Education and Training for principals and school committees that unhealthy foods like ice blocks and snacks should not be allowed in schools. it is not just a decision we have reached on our own”.In another matter, the principal said the school had reached a decision not to allow pupils to buy food from vendors because they used this as an opportunity to run away from school. “we had instances in the past where some of our pupils ran away from school after pretending that they were going out of the gate to buy food. That will not be tolerated,” she said. Dlamini believes the food cooked and served at the school through the feeding programme is sufficient and sees no reason why children want more after eating at school.
Umphakatsi perplexed by principal’s behaviour
A member of bandlancane of the Ka-Mkhweli chiefdom Tikhontele Ngcamphalala said the umphakatsi was perplexed by the behaviour of Zanele Dlamini, the principal of Ka-Mkhweli Primary School. Ngcamphalala confirmed in an interview that bandlancane had been approached by vendors and the school committee to try and intervene in the ongoing impasse.“when we tried to speak to the principal, she simply told us that the chiefdom is not her boss. She flatly refused to entertain us,” he said. the school committee later resorted to calling a parents meeting last year so they would find a solution. In the meeting, parents took a decision that vendors be allowed to sell alongside the school tuckshop, but they say this resolution was also overruled by the principal. Ngcamphalala said Dlamini’s behaviour had truly perplexed the umphakatsi especially because she refused advice.
Parents, school committee demand auditor’s report
It has been established that the school committee of Ka-Mkhweli Primary School no longer sees eye to eye with the principal because she denies them the right to see an auditor’s report. “She told us the auditor’s report has nothing to do with the school committee. She wondered why we wanted to see the auditor’s report because it was meant for her and the inspector of schools. we were shocked because as a committee we have to know how school money is being used”.
Enhlanganisweni High parents, pupils aggrieved by level of corporal punishment
Teachers are of late attracting a lot of wrath from both pupils and their parents as the level of corporal punishment seems to have increased in schools. One of the cases is Enhlanganisweni High School at Mpolonjeni in Mbabane where parents and pupils are aggrieved by the harsh level of corporal punishment by a certain mr. Mkhonta who reportedly exceeds acceptable standards when beating up children. Pupils say they cannot report the teacher to the school administration for fear of being victimised. In an interview, an aggrieved parent whose child is one of the teacher’s victims said he was pained to see the way his child had been beaten. “My child came home one day with swollen buttocks. the child told me mr. Mkhonta had repeatedly beaten him severely for not properly doing his homework. I rebuked the child for not doing school work properly, but was angry with the teacher for beating my child like that. I am not against the school disciplining children, but I do not like it when they come back from school hurt by a teacher who is supposed to act as a parent,” said the parent. Another parent explained that the same teacher takes offence when he beats a pupil and that pupil shows sign of discomfort or pain where the teacher had struck. “My child once received 18 strokes from the brutal mr. Mkhonta. his crime was rubbing his buttocks after receiving eight strokes. the teacher felt it was disrespectful for the poor child to show he had been hurt by the stick he was using,” said the parent. Some parents would, however, not say why their children did not do their homework properly because the teacher was mostly offended by that. this is what one had to say, “I confess I no longer supervise my child for homework because I believe he is responsible enough to do school work properly. Another thing, I am not well versed with the IGCSE syllabus they now do at school because in my time we did O’level. I am unfamiliar with most of the topics and subjects they do now. But I always advise my children to do their work faithfully because this is their future”.he added, “there are ways to discipline a misbehaving child and it should be clear that parents of pupils schooling at Enhlanganisweni are not against the school disciplining misbehaving pupils. we are strongly against barbaric beating of our children and we hope the administration in that school will closely look into our concerns”. Chairperson of the school committee at Enhlanganisweni High was reportedly alerted about the corporal punishment issue, but they claim he never took this issue seriously. “Everytime we speak to the chairperson of the school committee he behaves like he sympathises, but at the end of the day he does not attend to this problem. we are even beginning to doubt if he alerted the principal about our disapproval of the severe punishing of our children”.Another case of corporal punishment that attracted bad publicity in the past weeks was that of a teacher at Malamlela Primary School who reportedly takes it too far when punishing young children. the teacher reportedly beat and broke the arm of a young grader, but parents of the child later changed the story and claimed the child got hurt when she tripped and fell on her hand whilst walking home.
What happened to school’s financial statements, prospectus?
Enhlanganisweni High School seems to be marred by different problems as parents are further complaining about the administration’s alleged failure to produce the school’s financial statements and proper prospectus. Buyisile Dlamini, a parent, said, “we do not why the principal and the school committee are such poor communicators. we are unhappy that until now they have not given us proper financial statements outlining how the school operated last year. we are also unhappy that such a big school like Enhlanganisweni does not have prospectus clearly outlining how much pupils are supposed to pay. as it is now, individual pupils are told orally how much they are supposed to pay for school fees, but this is not written anywhere in the prospectuses which are also non-existent”.
‘no comment, write what you like’
When sought for comment to state her administration’s case, the principal of Enhlanganisweni High School did not want to entertain any questions. “unfortunately I cannot respond to any of the questions you are asking because you have already taken sides in this matter. I am confident that the sides you have taken are meant to spice up your article. I am sure your readers will be more than willing to read what you have written about my school. Go ahead, write what you have planned,” she said, without answering any of the questions.She briefly mentioned that the aggrieved parents and pupils should register their complaints with the school committee and the media because they were seemingly comfortable with running with their issues to them instead of the school administration.
<a href="http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=22835tag:news.google.com,2005:cluster=http://www.observer.org.sz/index.php?news=22835Sat, 26 Mar 2011 05:49:08 GMT 00:00″>Ka-Mkhweli residents up in arms with principal
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